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Bailey warns Gov’t against distracting the police

Published:Wednesday | March 29, 2023 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Fitz Bailey cautions the Government against differences that may cause obstructions to police officers in carrying out their work, while addressing an awards banquet to honour police officers on March 25.
Fitz Bailey cautions the Government against differences that may cause obstructions to police officers in carrying out their work, while addressing an awards banquet to honour police officers on March 25.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Head of the country’s crime and security portfolio in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, has warned the Government against differences that may cause obstructions to police officers that will prevent them from carrying out their jobs.

The senior police officer’s warning comes after months of resistance and mere days after several unions representing members of the force at different levels accepted and signed off on the new wage package under the compensation review programme.

“I put this to the minister [of state in the Ministry of National Security, Zavia Mayne]: there should be no distraction, to distract the police from the task that they are committed to doing,” declared Bailey.

He was speaking at the Westmoreland Police Civic Committee awards banquet held at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Savanna-la-Mar on Saturday to recognise and honour the work of police officers and ancillary staff in the division.

“Those who are in the private sector will tell you that if you want a good business and you want your business to progress, the people that work must be properly taken care of,” the senior deputy commissioner of police argued. And I will not make any further comment on that.”

Last week, more than 90 per cent of the members of the Jamaica Police Officers Association, which represents police personnel from the rank of assistant superintendent to deputy commissioner, voted to accept the Government’s offer.

Prior to that, the Jamaica Police Federation, which represented rank-and-file members, signed a memorandum of understanding, paving the way for some $10.2 billion to be paid out by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, representing retroactive amounts to the men and women of the police force.

Firing home his point, Bailey highlighted the importance of the police and the nexus between crime and economic development, insisting that the men and women of the JCF have demonstrated the capacity, commitment, and integrity to deal with the country’s crime problems and should not be distracted.

“There can be no development in a high-crime environment, [and] what we do impacts on every area of society. Every individual, whether you are a student, a teacher, a business person, or even the family of a police officer, our action or non-action impacts on you. So the police and security forces play a critical role in nation-building,” said Bailey.

Speaking earlier at the same event, Mayne said that under the new compensation package, police officers are now in a better place in attaining financial stability.

“The real fact is that nobody can price the work that police officers do because day after day, you put your life in service of this country, to make the citizens of this country safe, and for that, we owe you a debt of gratitude,” he said.

The state minister admitted that far too often, as a country, we downplay the role that our police play while acknowledging the harsh realities and nature of the job performed daily by the men and women on the front line.

“When a police officer leaves his home in the mornings, when he or she says goodbye to his children, there is no guarantee that that officer is going to make it back home,” said Mayne. “I know first hand the incredible sacrifices that the members of our law enforcement agencies make every day to keep our communities safe. Those men and women risked their lives every day to ensure that we are protected from crime and violence that permeate our communities.”

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com